Rail testing hub set for international boost

Plans to transform a Warwickshire rail technology testing hub into a national and international centre of excellence is to be showcased at MIPIM next month.

Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC), based near Stratford-upon-Avon, is the only privately owned and independent rail testing and trialling site in the UK and attracts companies from all over the world.

Leading rolling stock asset management company Porterbrook has just signed a 15-year lease on the complex and plans to work with the rail supply chain and academic bodies, as well as creating new partnerships with technology leaders from other sectors.

The announcement of the lease secures the long-term future of the centre which is used extensively for reliability and mileage accumulation testing and trialling, and is also home to RailLive, Europe’s largest outdoor railway showcase.

The facility, which has the only looped test track in the UK, covers 135 acres and has been the delivery partner for over 150 suppliers over the last four years. It is also home to the UK’s only specially built light rail test facility and is partner to UK Tram/Innovate UK.

The site will be profiled at the MIPIM 2020 international property development and investment show in March by the Coventry & Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership which is made up of companies and organisations who represent the area and is also part of the UK Midlands presence at the event.

Ian Flynn, inward investment manager at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The signing of the lease is great news for the site and will secure the future of QRTC for the next 15 years.

“The first-class facilities at QRTC are helping to spearhead the development of the next generation of rail technology in the UK. The site is the only one of its kind in the UK and draws businesses and institutions for testing and training from across the UK and beyond to South Warwickshire which is great for the local area.

“North Warwickshire already boasts the UK’s premier specialist centre for the automotive sector in HORIBA MIRA and QRTC in South Warwickshire has the potential to become just as significant for the rail industry.”

Colin Flack, a director of QRTC, said: “The 15-year lease reflects Porterbrook’s absolute commitment to developing and supporting Britain’s railway.

“We have our sights set on becoming the leading specialist railway research, education and innovation centre in the world, and the lease will support us as we embark on our ambitious plans.

“Our testing facilities are used for a variety of purposes, such as impact testing, product approval and product development. With some 20km of storage sidings and capacity for approximately 1,000 items of rolling stock the site, we also boast the largest and most extensive storage capacity in the UK.

“The expansion of our facilities has also been reflected in the number of businesses and industries we have attracted to the site in recent years, many of whom spend extended periods of time in the area and contribute to the local economy.

“We look forward to expanding the services we are able to provide by investing in new and improved infrastructure that will continue to support the development of rail technology in the country.”

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